Physics paper sinks amid accusations of unacceptable “overlap”

prl-bannerA paper in Physical Review Letters has been retracted for “overlap” with two other previously published papers.

The notice isn’t available online yet, so we got in touch with American Physical Society (APS) editorial director Dan Kulp for more information. Here’s what he told us about “Anomalous melting scenario of the two-dimensional core-softened system”:

As you can see the subject Letter was published this past April.  A reader informed us a few weeks later that they were concerned by the overlap of the Letter with two other papers by another group (one in PRL and another in J. Chem. Phys.).  Since the overlap and relationship between the papers was not completely obvious, the editor sought external advice on the extent of the overlap and effect it has on the novelty of the published Letter.  After receiving feedback it was determined that even though the previously published papers were referenced in the Letter, the extent of the citation did not fully reflect the text or concept overlaps, and thus did not properly attribute the original sources.

As for the notice, Kulp tells us:

Hopefully the retraction will be published soon.  The proofs were recently returned, so I am hoping for no additional delays.

The paper has been cited just once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

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